The Annual Cycle of Arctic Ice and Ocean Heat and Freshwater Fluxes, Measured and Modelled

Friday, 19 December 2014
Sheldon Bacon, Yevgeny Aksenov and Takamasa Tsubouchi, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
Paucity of measurements means that quantifying and evaluating the Arctic thermal and hydrological cycles is problematic. For example: atmospheric reanalyses are not well constrained by observations; for river runoff measurements, there are un-gauged flows to consider; and until the relatively recent advent of autonomous measurement systems, ocean measurements outside the summer melt season were rare. We have assembled a complete and continuous Arctic Ocean boundary measurement array from moored installations in four ocean gateways: Fram, Davis and Bering Straits, and the Barents Sea Opening. Occasionally “patching” with coupled ice-ocean general circulation model (GCM) output is required; if so, the output water properties are validated and calibrated against climatology. This approach enables application of inverse modeling methods through the use of conservation constraints, and consequent generation of a set of 12 monthly-mean ocean (including sea ice) fluxes of freshwater and heat spanning a full calendar year. We will present results from a single annual cycle (2005-6). We have also transferred the design of the Arctic Ocean Boundary Array to the GCM environment, where we have calculated the mean annual cycles (from ca. 30-year model runs) both of net surface fluxes (atmosphere-ocean and land-ocean, including sea ice) and equivalent ice and ocean boundary fluxes of freshwater and heat, at two model resolutions (1/4 degree and 1/12 degree global mean) and for two different surface forcing data sets. We will show the resulting comparisons of the mean annual cycles of measured and modeled Arctic freshwater and heat fluxes, and also show the modeled mean annual cycle of heat and freshwater storage. We believe that the integral boundary array formed by sustained measurements in the four named ocean gateways should be a cornerstone of any Arctic environmental monitoring system.